Governance of Transitions. A Simulation Experiment on Urban Transportation

  • Johannes Weyer
  • Fabian AdeltEmail author
  • Sebastian Hoffmann
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Complexity book series (SPCOM)


The current paper is positioned at the intersection of computer simulation, governance research, and research on infrastructure systems. It proposes a simulation framework, “Simulation of the governance of complex systems” (SimCo), to study the governability of complex socio-technical systems experimentally by means of agent-based modelling (ABM). SimCo is rooted in a sociological macro-micro-macro model of a socio-technical system, taking into account the interplay of agents’ choices (micro) and situational constraints (macro). SimCo depicts the daily routines of users performing their tasks (e.g. going to work) by choosing among different technologies (e.g. modes of transportation). It allows operators to purposefully intervene, for instance in the case of risk management (e.g. preventing congestion) or system transformation (e.g. towards sustainable mobility). Experiments with an urban road transport scenario demonstrate the effects of different modes of governance, revealing that soft control may be the best strategy to govern a complex socio-technical system.


Governance Agent-based modelling Complexity Infrastructure systems Transport network Transport mode choice 


  1. Adelt, F., Weyer, J., & Fink, R. D. (2014). Governance of complex systems. Results of a sociological simulation experiment. Ergonomics (Special Issue “Beyond Human-Centered Automation”), 57, 434–448. Scholar
  2. Adelt, F., et al. (2018). Simulation of the governance of complex systems (SimCo). Basic concepts and initial experiments. Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, 21(2), 2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Coleman, J. S. (1990). Foundations of social theory. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Duit, A., & Galaz, V. (2008). Governance and complexity—Emerging issues for governance theory. Governance, 21(3), 311–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Esser, H. (1993). The rationality of everyday behavior a rational choice reconstruction of the theory of action by Alfred Schütz. Rationality and Society, 5(1), 7–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Esser, H. (2000). Soziologie. Spezielle Grundlagen, Bd. 3: Soziales Handeln. Frankfurt am Main: Campus-Verlag.Google Scholar
  7. Grande, E. (2012). Governance-Forschung in der Governance-Falle?–Eine kritische Bestandsaufnahme. Politische Vierteljahresschrift, 53(4), 565–592.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Kalter, Frank/Clemens Kroneberg, 2014: Between mechanism talk and mechanism cult: New emphases in explanatory sociology and empirical research. Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie 66: 91–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Konidari, Popi/Dimitrios Mavrakis, 2007: A multi-criteria evaluation method for climate change mitigation policy instruments. Energy Policy 35 (12): 6235–6257. Scholar
  10. Kooiman, J., et al. (2008). Interactive governance and governability: An introduction. Journal of Transdisciplinary Environmental Studies, 7, 1–11.Google Scholar
  11. Mayntz, R. (2004). Governance Theory als fortentwickelte Steuerungstheorie? (MPIfG Working Paper).
  12. Rhodes, R. A. W. (2007). Understanding governance: Ten years on. Organization Studies, 28, 1243–1264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Velasquez, Mark/Patrick T. Hester, 2013: An analysis of multi-criteria decision making methods. International Journal of Operations Research 10 (2): 56–66.MathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  14. Weyer, J., Adelt, F., & Hoffmann, S. (2015). Governance of complex systems. A multi-level model (Soziologisches Arbeitspapier 42/2015). Dortmund: TU Dortmund. Scholar
  15. Wilensky, U. (1999). NetLogo. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University, Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling. Scholar
  16. Wilensky, U. (2007). Link-walking turtles example. Evanston: Northwestern University, Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johannes Weyer
    • 1
  • Fabian Adelt
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sebastian Hoffmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Business and Economics, Technology Studies GroupTU Dortmund UniversityDortmundGermany

Personalised recommendations